Winter Obstacle Course

The Holiday Season is almost here! I previously did a Halloween obstacle course class that my classes adored! It was challenging, fun, and relevant to yoga. These are my favorite ideas for a Winter & Holiday themed obstacle course! Feel free to print them out, glue them onto cardboard paper, and laminate them for easier use!

Polar Bear Crawl: Walk in your Downward Dog like an Arctic polar bear!1

Snowflake Breathing: Practice snowflake breathing with pretend snowflakes. Try to breathe all the snowflakes into a bucket!


 Snow Angels: Spread your arms and legs out wide and make a snow angel with your body!



 Balance Snowball: Put a white pom pom ball on a spoon. See if you can balance the snowball on the spoon from one end of a yoga strap to the other!


Ice Skating: Move and slide your feet across the floor like an ice skater on felt pieces. See if you can be strong and still in Dancer’s pose!


 Hot Chocolate Breathing: Holding a paper cup, pretend like you have steaming hot chocolate in it. Breathe in the nice chocolate smell and breathe out to cool your hot chocolate down.


Ski Jump: The ski jumper makes turns around yoga blocks and lands in chair pose. 7

 Snowy Tree: Balance a foam snowflake on top of your head while balancing in tree pose.



Holiday Lights Meditation: Focus on a tea light candle and practice deep breathing.9

 Sledding: Pretend to go sledding in your seated forward fold. Watch out for those bumps!



Freezing Toega: Pick up the little snowballs with your toes and put them on a plate!11

 Penguin Waddle: Walk slowly and waddle across a yoga strap like a penguin!12

I hope you enjoy this obstacle course with your family and students!

Brain Breaks for the Classroom

Are you looking for a way to re-focus your classroom? Here are some postures for kids (and teachers) to try while seated in a chair. Make these practices part of your daily  classroom routine!

Listen to the bell: You can use any type of bell for this activity. I prefer either a singing bowl or a chime. Ring the bell and have the children listen from the time bell starts to when it ends. This is a great practice in noticing and mindfulness. It also draws attention to focus and breathing. 

Bunny Breathing: Get your bunny ears ready! Take three quick breaths in and one long breath out. Notice how focused and energized you feel. 


Seated Figure Four: Start in seated mountain pose with your feet separate and firmly planted on the floor. Lift one leg up and cross it over in figure four. Switch sides!


Seated Twists: Stretch both arms up to the sky. Put your right hand on the desk and lift your left hand up to the sky. Twinkle your fingers. Switch sides. 


 Seated Forward Fold: Separate your feet and reach your arms towards the ground. Relax your head and grab onto opposite elbows.


Secret Garden: Students can either put their heads on their desk or sit comfortably. There’s an option for children to close their eyes. As they sit quietly, use vivid imagery to guide them on a trip to a Secret Garden – a very special, safe, beautiful place. Encourage them to use all 5 senses to create their Garden. Where is your Garden? What does it look like? Does it smell like the ocean or like flowers? Can you hear birds? Are there books? Stuffed animals? Then let them sit for a couple minutes resting in their Gardens before gently asking them to sit up and get ready to learn!

5 Best Props for Kids’ Yoga (+ 1 Bonus)

Congratulations! You finished your Kids’ Yoga teacher training! You have the passion for teaching and the knowledge of how to teach yoga to kids! Now what?

You need the very best props to start the very best job ever! Through my experience, these are the essential props for any new kids’ Yoga teacher:

Hoberman Sphere: S15300633737_a3abb24c5e_zince I started teaching Yoga to children, I have used the Hoberman Sphere EVERYDAY! It is an amazing visual for children to understand breathing in and out slowly (here’s how). Kids of all ages are fascinated by the pretty colors and the fact that it expands. It’s also a great incentive and a way to do introductions for a smaller class!

Rolling Bag: When I first started teaching, I would bring around an abnormally large over the shoulder bag. I realized after awhile that my shoulder and back started to hurt! I finally discovered a rolling bag, which has made lugging around yoga mats and props a thousand times easier! You can usually find rolling bags at local thrift childrens yoga teacher training

Chime: The best way to teach active listening, focusing, and mindfulness in general is by purchasing a bell. It helps bring the focus back on the class, the sounds around the students, and presence in the moment. It’s also very soothing and signals to the children that it’s Yoga time. Click on this link to get to an article describing how to use chimes in your Yoga practice.

Speaker & Music: How can you make your classes more fun and engaging? You can add music! I would recommend a lightweight speaker. Initially I had a heavy boom box and discovered that the more portable it is, the better. Where can you find fun music? Kidding Around Yoga has music that you can use in all of your classes!

Pom Poms: Craft pom poms are perfect for Toe-ga (picking up pom poms with our toes).  They are fun, pretty, and make our toes and feet really strong! Look for pompoms at dollar stores and stack up! They are also a nice “take-home” to give your 9204994020_e440aa6611_zstudents to practice their Yoga at home. So you’ll want plenty on hand. Need more ideas on including pom poms in your class? Here you go!

(Bonus): Relaxation stories: One of my favorite ways to start teaching relaxation to children is through relaxing imagery. I prefer Relax Kids: The Wishing Star by Marneta Viegas for Children 5 years old and up, and Imaginations by Carolyn Clarke. They include how to let each body part relax in detail.

There are an infinite number of props and tools you can include in your kids’ Yoga classes, and it’s fun to have variety. But, at the least, have these 5 (ok, 6) props in your magic bag of Yoga tricks and you will start your adventure on the right foot!



Mindfulness Exercises

13093869055_66e534fccc_zIncorporating Mindfulness into your classroom or home can help your little ones grow up to be calm and focused adults. In addition to being fun, these techniques are beneficial to a child’s overall well-being!

Belly Breathing
Bring both hands to your belly. As you breathe in, feel your belly rise and as you breathe out, feel your belly contract. Belly breathing is great for helping you calm down when you are feeling upset.

Bunny Breathing
Take 3 quick sniffs through the nose and one long breath out. Imagine you smell all the wonderful smells around you. You can smell nature and yummy carrots to eat! Bunny breathing is great for helping kids focus and for calming down.

Firework Breathing
Bring your hands to your heart. Take a big breath in and reach your arms up and out as you breathe out. As you breathe out, make a “paaaah” sound. Try to make your inhales and exhales as slow and long as you can. This is a great breathing technique to stay 14983040973_d19eff8e59_zfocused and alert before a big test, writing practice, or reading.

Layers of Sound
Breathe in slowly and out slowly. Open your ears really big and notice the sounds far away. Listen to the sounds outside your school or home in the distance. Notice the sounds and try not to identify them. Now listen to the sounds closer to you inside your classroom or home. Listen and notice the sounds without identifying or worrying about them. Now notice the sounds inside your body. Maybe you can hear your breathing or your heartbeat. Slowly open your eyes and note how to it feels to really notice all the sounds around you and inside your own body.

Mindful Walk
Ask the children to slowly and silently walk around the room. Put on a nature song with various distinct nature sounds. Notice the steps you take and the sounds around you. Listen carefully for sounds of birds, ocean waves, rain, wind, and more! Notice how the sounds make you feel. After listening to the song, ask the children what sounds they heard. Ask them what it feels like to really notice what is around them and how they can try this in daily life!

Loving Kindness Meditation
Breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly. Send love and kindness to yourself by saying in your mind: “May I be happy. May I be free from anger. May I be healthy.” Now, imagine 15300482768_d4a8c0f62e_zsomeone you really love. It can be a good friend, family member, or someone else you love. Send love and kindness to the person you love by saying in your mind: “May you be happy. May you be free from anger. May you be healthy”. The most difficult meditation is sending love and kindness to someone you don’t like. Imagine someone who is not your friend and say in your mind: “May you be happy. May you be free from anger. May you be healthy”. Practicing loving kindness meditation helps you feel happy and good for sending love to others and yourself. This is a great method to use when dealing with conflict. Read more about the Loving Kindness meditation here.

STEM: Yoga and Movement

After teaching yoga at a public school, I was asked to integrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) into my school’s curriculum. I was excited for the challenge and interested in how the children would interact with the lessons. After planning my classes, I realized Yoga & Movement is a perfect complement to a STEM curriculum! The movement helps children remember terminology in a fun and interactive way. I prefer having the children get out of their chairs and move during the introduction of each lesson. The three main challenges I taught were the Ultimate Tower Challenge, Strong and Sturdy Bridge Challenge, and Aerodynamic Paper Airplanes.

Ultimate Tower Challenge

Supplies Needed:

  • 10 pipe cleaners
  • 10 craft sticks
  • 6 clothespins


Instructions: Students work in teams to build the tallest and strongest tower using the limited materials. First they will draw out a plan for their tower. Then they test out the pipe cleaner tower, noticing the limitations and strengths of the material. Next, they compare their tower with a tower made out of craft sticks and clothespins. Hint:  Each clothespin fits more than one craft stick! Test the strength of the tower by balancing books or other supplies on it. Measure the height of the tower! In the end, discuss what worked and didn’t work. Then have the children brainstorm for the future!

Sturdy Bridge Challenge

Supplies Needed:

  • Lego Bricks
  • crayons (use as weights to check stability)

Instructions: Show the class the video with the various types of bridges including truss, suspension, arch, and beam. You can also show pictures of various bridges. First they will draw out a plan for a strong and sturdy bridge. The children will build the strongest bridge using their Legos. The expectations are that the bridge is strong, stable, and people/cars can go above and below the structure, The children can test out the strength and stability of their bridge by balancing books, crayons, and other items on the bridge. Discuss and plan for next time.

Aerodynamic Paper Airplanes

Supplies Needed:

  • Paper Airplane Draft with dotted line folds (for K-2nd graders)
  • Extra Paper

Instructions: Show the class the video about aerodynamics introducing thrust, drag, lift, and stability. Ask them if they have ever been on a plane and if they know why a plane can fly straight and far. After they color the airplane, have them try to fold the airplane. If the airplane doesn’t fly the way they want it to, ask them to see what happens if they fold it differently. Discuss attributes of a plane that can fly far and fast and plan for the future!

There are so many fun ways to integrate Yoga & Movement with STEM! The children enjoy moving and learning in an interesting and interactive way.

I’m Sick but Have to Teach! Now What?

I caught a cold and feel miserable! But, I have a class tomorrow at a preschool, another at an elementary school, and a Mommy and Me class! Now what? Here are some tips for how to manage not feeling well when teaching a kids yoga class.

Have a Buddy
Find someone locally who can cover your classes when you are sick. It’s best if your buddy has taken the same training as you, or runs class with the same routines and teaching methods.Things happen and this way you can prevent having to cancel a class and potentially losing clients.

Substitute Plan
If you have a specific way that you teach, have it all typed up beforehand. For example, if you have jobs or name tags set up a certain way, let your substitute know. Have your class outline ready to go and changed for the upcoming weeks. If you have a certain placement of the mats, mention the placement and mat assignments if applicable. Write out your behavior management plan. Do you try to not have best friends sit next to each other in your preschool class? Be as detailed as possible. Having your substitute plan clear and easy to understand will help your class stay on track even when you aren’t there!

What do you do if having a buddy and substitute plan doesn’t work for you?

Mini Teachers
Children love to be helpers! Appoint a few of them to help out with various games and activities. They will love having the responsibility and it will also help you give your voice a rest!

Even if you normally have an amazing sergeant-like voice, the music is always there for you! It will keep the children engaged, having fun, and breathing. Our favorite music comes from  Kidding Around Yoga.

Yoga Cards
Yoga cards are great for a sick day! You can have them teach each other poses or play musical yoga mats. There’s an article here that describes different sets of cards and how to use them in your class.

Arts & Crafts
Have you made talking sticks yet? Colored a mandala? Made a meditation station? Art is always a fun and great way to keep the children relaxed and your voice a rest.

Job Song
I love to have jobs in my classes, especially when it’s a very large group. You can organize this process a little bit better by creating a song that fits your purpose. This has helped the chaos of 40 children putting their shoes on, fixing their mats, fixing their name tags, and trying to stay quiet while the classroom next door takes a math test! Here are the lyrics of a song I made up to the tune of  We Will Rock You.

We love We love Yoga
Time to do our jobs.

First is the line monitor, Step right up.
Over to the shoe rack let’s tie them up.

Quiet as a mouse, shhh in the house.
Feeling all relaxed let’s do our jobs in yoga class.

Shhh Shhh Shhh Shhh Shh Shh
We love We love Yoga
Time to do our jobs.

Teacher helper, it’s your turn, collect all the names.
Set up the next group. Girl boy girl boy is the aim.


Breathing buddies go. Welcome to the show. Hand them in gently.
Please oh please don’t throw.


Straighteners of the mats, your time is now. Keep them separate from each other and make them flat.


Secret Garden Recording
Nothing is better than a live Secret Garden (this is also called Savasana). If you just aren’t feeling well, you can record yourself reading a Secret Garden story in advance. This works great if you are starting to lose your voice! Have it ready to go for anytime that may happen. You can add music using Garage Band or even a simple voice memo on your phone.

Good luck and get well soon!

Have a Yoga Pajama Party

Children love themed yoga classes! One of my favorite requests is for a pajama party. My yoga classes love putting on their comfy PJs and bringing in their favorite stuffed animal! Here’s what you need to have a fun PJ Party Yoga class:

Fun Digital Flyer: Promote your upcoming themed class through Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to mention to wear PJs and bring your favorite stuffed animals. Promote your class as a “Date Night” for the parents – they’d love a night out.

Pajamas: Wear your favorite PJs, too! Children love when you have fun and dress up with them.

Stuffed Animals: Have the children bring their favorite stuffed animal from home and practice belly breathing! With the children resting on their back, they place their furry friend on their belly and watch it move up and down with the breath. Explain to the kids that it is important notice their belly rise and fall while their favorite stuffed animal rides like a wave on their belly.

Lavender Eye Pillow Art Activity: To set the tone of fun and relaxation, I set up an art activity as the children walk in. Create a lavender eye pillow with a large crew sock, rice, lavender flowers, lavender essential oil, and fabric markers to decorate. Add a few drops of the essential oil to the rice before your class starts. Kids open their sock, fill it with the scented rice, a few flowers and tie a tight knot at the open end. They can then use the eye pillow during savasana. You can also keep the pillows in the freezer for hot days or boo-boos. You can find more relaxing art activities here.

Blankets: I bring blankets for children to use as props during restorative yoga poses and for savasana. They love when you cover them with blankets while they are creating their own secret gardens! Don’t have a bunch of blankets? Have them bring their own.

 Restorative Yoga Poses: Teach your favorite restorative poses. My classes love restorative poses and it gives them tools to help self regulate at home! My favorites are Legs up the Wall, Supported Fish, and Supine Butterfly. Looking for more restorative postures for kids? Kidding Around Yoga has a blog article about that!

Mindful Dessert: Bring dark chocolate and practice the art of mindful eating. Always check for allergies!

Have fun at your very own Yoga PJ party with your family, class, or friends!